Earlier this year, long-time Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away after a complications with a bile duct tumor at age 55. Since his death, company icons Shigeru Miyamotoa and Genyo Takeda have taken the helm as representative leaders for the revered video game company. On September 14, Nintendo officially announced Iwata’s successor, Tatsumi Kimishima.
While Tatsumi Kimishima is no stranger to the game industry, his roots lie deeply buried within the business side of the industry. Kimishima previously served as President of The Pokémon Company, followed by his five-year run as the President of Nintendo America from 2001-2006. In 2006, Kimishima became the division’s CEO and found himself promoted to Managing Director of Nintendo’s international parent corporation, Nintendo Co. Ltd, in 2013. Before his time in the video game industry, Kimishima worked at the Sanwa Bank in Japan for nearly three decades.
According to Japanese publication Nikkei, “Kimishima has no experience developing games and acknowledges being a weak player.” Regardless of his discrepancies, Nintendo pushed for Kimishima’s ample managerial experience – even going as far as to disregard Iwata’s ideal successors. Kimishima is placed in an untraditional situation, as age 65 is Nintendo’s retirement age for non-directors.
Both Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda will remain senior managing directors, in addition to acting as representative directors of the company, placing them in a position to advise Kimishima to the best of their ability. David Gipson, Head of Research for analyst group Macquarie, believes Kimishima “is meant to buy time for [Nintendo] to prepare the next president for the role.”
During the press conference, Nintendo said the decision to appoint Kimishima as president is meant to “strengthen and enhance the management structure of the company.”
Back in March, Nintendo announced its partnership with social game developer and entertainment content distributor DeNA Co., Ltd. Kimishima’s designation appears to come at the perfect time to pave the road for Nintendo’s financial success with their venture into the mobile game sector with their augmented reality game, “Pokémon Go,” which is expected to launch in 2016. Polygon speculates Kimishima will retire from the company shorty thereafter, handing the reigns over to younger management.
According to Nikkei, “Kimishima correctly predicted at the Wii U’s launch that the product would fail because it was too much like the original Wii.”
While it remains to be seen if the new president can turn things around for the struggling console—one thing is clear—Kimishima has his work cut out for him.